New Maccabi Board Member

February 8, 2013 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
Read on for article

The name Justin Shelton is well known as the NSW team manager at Junior Carnivals. Justin has become the newest, and youngest, member of the Maccabi NSW executive.
Alongside his wife Leanne, this is a grand old Maccabi story – and a really fabulous example of the powerful role our organisation plays.

Leanne and Justin Shelton

Leanne and Justin Shelton

Leanne reflects: “Growing up in South West Sydney, our Sundays were always ‘Jewish Sundays’. We’d attend Cheder in the morning, go home for a bite for lunch, then journey out to the East for Maccabi Swimming at Heffron Pool or Mt Sinai pool, visit friends or go shopping for a couple of hours and then head over to the lanes for Maccabi ten-pin bowling.”

“Since I lived at least 30 minutes away from the main Jewish population in Sydney while growing up, Maccabi was very important to me. It kept me connected with the community and was a great way to make new Jewish friends.”

Indeed, Justin only started his committed involvement with Maccabi via Leanne – as teenagers – when he joined her at our ten pin bowling club.

“When we (later) started dating back in 2005, it was kind of assumed that he would join me on the lanes,” Leanne quipped. “It was either that or simply become a spectator or never see me on Sunday nights!”

Leanne’s family are certainly no strangers to our Maccabi community.

How about this: “Currently, my grandfather, parents, brother, sister, cousin and husband all bowl together – it’s a big family affair!”

Their involvement spans 30 years – starting with grandparents Joy and Morrie Lewis.

“I’ve been told that Mum even bowled while pregnant with me – up until the final weeks before I was born! Morrie, who turned 80 years young this week, is still bowling – and getting great scores at that!”

Was there any hope, then, that this couple weren’t going to catch the Maccabi bug!?

Justin started to take a more hands-on role when coaxed into a Carnival position and now proudly sees “the organisation as my way of being with the Jewish community by being able to help out”.

Leanne’s Maccabi journey is a vintage one: three Junior Carnivals, a Youth Leader as an 18-year-old, then an Assistant Team Manager … then … “Justin was also interested, so together we headed into our first Carnival managing together. Three years on, we’ve worked together side by side on three fantastic Carnivals.”

So why the extra commitment with the NSW executive now for Justin?

“I’m not involved at a major club – just a club going for a very long time and have always been proud to be under Maccabi banner. There are probably a lot of people part of Maccabi in a similar situation, who can’t get over to the east for soccer or touch footy – so this is our opportunity to help the community in other ways.”

As Justin’s involvement with Carnival indicates, his passion is to help with the youth base and the continuity of the organisation.

As far as behind-the-scenes Maccabi stories go, this one’s a beauty.

“We don’t live in mainstream Jewish community, so it’s still good to have that contact; being able to help with the community in a way,” Justin concludes.

Leanne’s final words say it all: “I’m very thankful that my parents and grandparents have introduced Maccabi into my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it!”

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